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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Support Groups » Books & Movies Pick-Me-Up List

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Author Topic: Books & Movies Pick-Me-Up List
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I just realized I'd love for us to keep a running list of books or films that we find are really helpful when we need support, or are in grief or crisis, or which we've found can help us push ourselves forward into the good stuff when we need a nudge.

It's what I usually do in person with people who I know in crisis in person, leave them with a good book or film, so it's always a bit weird not to do that as a habit here.

Stuff that perhaps inspires or helps you process your feelings, but particularly when you're in a really tough place.

I have a few (of many) old standards I can start with, which are:
• Harold and Maude (film): This is mostly because my inner Maude is a very positive part of myself, so it can help jog that in me.

• The Lorax, by Dr. Suess (book): Favorite childhood story, that totally validates my usual biggest frustrations. Extra bonus: I read it so many times when I taught Kindergarten, I can recite it word-for-word without even having the book handy.

• Anything by Thich Nhat Hanh, who is my favorite Zen Buddhist teacher/writer/poet.

• Alice in Wonderland (book): This has been strange medicine for me since I was very small, mostly because a lot of my life has felt that way, even when I was a kid, and just digging into the chaos of it is a nice catharsis for me.

• Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, by Annie Dillard (book): A big reminder for me of what basic parts of life really sustain me and my creativity, also a good theme of a woman taking risks/adventures solely for herself.

• Skinny Legs and All, by Tom Robbins (book): It's Salome in modern day except -- oddly -- cheerful and quirky. And three of the main characters are a talking spoon, can of beans and a sock. Which is oddly poignant and profound, as strange as that may seem.

• Monsters, Inc. (film). Because it's silly AND I get to cry. And it shows power-hungry creepazoids up for the yucky people they are.


[ 05-06-2010, 09:57 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Nice topic!

-Finding Nemo (film): because Pixar totally rocks my world, and it's nice to have a reminder every once in awhile - from a cute little blue fish, no less! - to "just keep swimming"

-Anything written by Madeleine L'Engle, but particularly A Wrinkle in Time...I've read it so often that my copy is falling apart. Her strong but very realistic female main characters were always people I felt I could identify with, and I just love the way she writes.

-Love Actually (film): I have a couple issues with it, but it's definitely one of my go-to movies when I need a pick-me-up. IMO, the feelings around falling head-over-heels are portrayed so realistically, and it just gives me the warm fuzzies.

-Any book by Terry Pratchett: he writes fantasy, sure, but it's hilarious and very clever commentary on our own cultures and beliefs.

-Desiderata (poem): My mom used to read this to me when I was a kid and upset about something, and whenever I need a reminder that I have as much right to be on this planet as anybody else, I look over it again (even though at this point I pretty much have it memorized). I've had a framed copy of it for years - no matter where I live, it's somewhere I can see it every day - and I love it so much that I got the title as a tattoo.

"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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-Wall-E (film): Just a freaking cute movie that makes me happy every time I see it. Who can deny those big camera-lens eyes? Certainly not ME!

-Watership Down (book): I've read this book a million times since I was pretty small (I was always so proud of reading such a big book, and of course, I've always loved the story itself). Nice big-enough book, so lots of time spent in the world of the bunnies, and I always just find myself getting really wrapped up in it, as I do with most books -- but it is not a dark, stressful book that leaves my mind whirling and depressed for three days. It's just an awesome book about an epic bunny adventure [Big Grin]

-Dragonsong (book): reminds me that I always have my music, and I am lucky enough to have a family who really supports that, and friends who I can share the love with. Really excellent to put my life into perspective, as I can really relate with the feeling of what it'd be like to never be able to play music again -- so it makes me really appreciate that I still have that ability!

-Benny and Joon (film): I don't actually watch this one that much, but when I do, it always puts me in a good mood. It's super quirky and even makes you feel a little awkward watching it because of the extent of Benny's social awkwardness/eccentricity, but it's awkward in a nice way, a fresh way, and it's a lovely movie that makes me smile.

But I must say -- Karybu, you had some great choices there! I've definitely got Finding Nemo and Terry Pratchett stuff in my pick-me-up list, too!

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I LOVE Benny and Joon. Haven't seen it in ages....I should go watch it again, it's such a great movie.

"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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Poems by Philip Larkin and Seamus Heaney, oddly enough. They both tend to be really depressing, actually, but I sundown, and they tend to focus on the insomniac point around three or four am - so they jump me forward a few hours, if that makes sense. Also it tends to help if they're ones my English lecturer has read aloud to me before... [Wink]

Ingrid Michaelson (music), because she's so vapid and happy you end up just going along with it, and Joe Purdy (music) because he's awesome and has a cute voice.

“In a strange room, before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are filled with sleep you never were. I don’t know what I am. I don’t know if I am or not... how often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.”

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Awesome lists! Heather, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek is on my list, too. Content aside, the poetry of her language blows me away every time.

- Hedwig and the Angry Inch, (movie): Because Hedwig is one of the most inspiring heroines ever, and because it demonstrates that you don't need anyone else to be complete - you just have to learn to integrate and love all of the parts that make up YOU.

- The Center of the World, Andreas Steinhoefel (book): It's the coming-of-age story of a gay teen in a small town, and I first read it when I was 14 and have picked it up at least once a year since. By now, part of the appeal is the fact that it's so familiar I can cite entire passages by heart. But it also manages to be hopeful and honest at the same time, which is often just what I need.

- Mr. God, this is Anna, by Fynn (book): I've lost count of how many times I've had to buy a new copy of this after lending it out and not getting it back. I myself actually stole my first copy from my mom's bookshelf when I was 8 or 9, and just couldn't let go of it again. It's the (allegedly true) story of a little girl who explains the world. It's profound, sweet, funny and (spoiler alert) incredibly sad.

- Bunnicula, by Deborah and James Howe (book): Because sometimes you just need to read a story about a cat and a dog who suspect that their family's bunny is a vampire.

Also, if TV series count: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, because there is bound to be at least one episode that directly deals with your specific current problem, and it can be cathartic to see your problem slayed.

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Oh gods, joey, bunnicula! You reminded me! I LOVED those books as a kid (first one especially), and I really need to go out and buy 'em so I can read them again. I remember when I borrowed the first one from my school library, I extended it as long as possible just so I could read it again. Also, Buffy = <3 of course, and I'm surprised I forgot to put that on my list. Nice one!
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Amelie (film) - there is some kitchie cult around it, but basically, it's just a beatifully made movie about someone's road from total isolation to being connected to someone. It's symbolical, so even if in real life the gestures weren't enough to build a relationship, I see them as symbols for more down-to-earth (and less visual) things people do when open up gradually to each other.

Nick and Norah's infinite playlist (the book) - it's uncomparable with the film, and is about the same topic as amelie - regaining the courage to connect when one's hurt and afraid. You can see into the protagonists' head in real time (that's why it only covers about 8 hours), it's hilarious and makes you feel free in a way.

J. D. Salinger: Franny and Zoey: it's like an adult version for Catcher in the rye, and not in the "adult=sex" way: it's much more complex and nuanced, and there is, not exactly a happy end, but a hearthwarming possibility for getting gout from a crisis. But it's not that cheap kind of resolution... I don't know what else to say, I really love this book, it's complex and real.

[ 05-10-2010, 01:24 PM: Message edited by: naplement ]

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A lot of good options, but at the moment it's all about 30 rock - the best writing for women, by women on TV at the moment I reckon.


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A Fistful of Sky by Nina Kiriki Hoffman - A interesting story about the one woman in a family who hasn't gotten her powers yet. It's very nuanced. The relationships between the siblings and how they support eachother are well drawn.

We are all made of Star Stuff...
-Carl Sagan

...Their eyes beheld, first of all things, the stars of heaven.

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sarah grace
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Karybu and Onionpie have already mentioned some of mine. [Smile] Finding Nemo, the Desiderata, and Watership Down... all are amazing pick-me-ups. [Smile] Karybu, I bet that tattoo is awesome by the way.

My #1 go-to pick-me-up is Lord of the Rings. Something about it is so calming to me, I guess because my mom always used the books and movies too soothe her when she was upset, it just passed on to me. Any time I'm worried, I just pop in the Fellowship of the Ring and drift off into a nap...

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